Tag: spicy

Spicy Guacamole

Spicy Guacamole

One of my favorite things to do is to take a classic dish and add an unexpected twist. This Spicy Guacamole is an especially fun one. It looks like the regular dip we all love, but one bite and you know this is no ordinary read more

Green Curry Tofu

Green Curry Tofu

One of our most popular menu items is our Green Curry Shrimp. And it’s easy to see why. It’s rich, creamy, spicy, and full of colorful veggies. I am a firm believer though that vegetarians deserve to get in on the fun too, and that’s read more

Spicy Thai Fish

Spicy Thai Fish

Thai food is famed for expertly balancing all of the major flavors-spicy, sweet, sour, and salty, in a dish. And this Spicy Thai Fish is no exception. A whole snapper is used here: bathed in a fragrant, spicy broth with onions and earthy mushrooms and a shower of scallions. If you’ve never made a fish stock from scratch before, you will be delighted by its rich taste. This is a celebratory dish, and looks beautiful when brought to the table.

This recipe has humble origins. As I’m sure you can guess, we fillet a lot of fish at the restaurants. Naturally, that leaves us with a lot of fish heads. Although it’s often considered a waste product, most Asians treat it as a delicacy to be relished. So each time there is a delivery of fish, one of our line cooks will pick out the best one and cook it for me and my husband. He’s been with us for over 15 years, so we’ve eaten a lot of this Spicy Thai Fish, although we affectionately call it Toun’s Fish. I’ve tried to maintain the flavors of the dish, but give you a more PG fish recipe! But truth be told, the tastiest nuggets are always closest to the head. So go ahead and serve it up along with the fillets. Or just save it as a cook’s treat. Either way this fragrant and spicy dish is a delicious way to savor the amazing flavors of fresh fish.

spicy thai fish ingredients

Filleting A Whole Fish

I use red snapper for my Spicy Thai Fish, because it’s plentiful here in South Florida. But yellowtail or any other mild white fish that looks fresh will work well too. And when I say this recipe uses the whole fish, I mean it! If you opt to have the fish cleaned and filleted for you, be sure to ask for the head and bones-those add intense flavor to the stock.

Filleting a whole fish can be very intimidating. I admit, I usually don’t fillet fish either, I have them dressed at the restaurant. So if you want to leave the work to your fish monger, excellent decision! But if you’re one of those who needs a cooking challenge every once in a while to get your mojo on in the kitchen, more power to you. Let’s do this! And if you’ve never worked with a whole fish before, I give very detailed instructions on how to debone and fillet it. Here are some pictures of the process:

head spicy thai fish

spine spicy thai fish

fillets spicy thai fish

This is what it will look like when you’re done:

spicy thai fish cleaned

Spicy Thai Fish Stock

I start making the stock by prepping the aromatics. These ingredients, along with the fish bones and head, will give you a rich and luxurious sauce. Without the bones, the fish will taste a little boring, like it’s missing something, no matter how many other things are in the sauce.

onion ginger spicy thai fish

lemongrass spicy thai fish


head spicy thai fish

Next, I put the lid on and the stock gets simmered for about 35-40 minutes. If this is a dish you are serving for a dinner party or a special occasion, and you have a million other things to think about, you could certainly make the stock the day before. Then strain and refrigerate it, and you’ll have it ready for the following day.

Once the stock is done, Thai Spicy Fish comes together quickly. Heat a deep skillet for several minutes, and then add oil.

onions spicy thai fish

shiitake spicy thai fish

press spicy thai fish

simmer spicy thai fish

SCALLIONS spic thai fish

The fish should be cooked through in about 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat, and heap the fresh herbs on top. I like to serve it right in the pot. It’s delicious served over rice to soak up every drop of the lusty broth. Thai Spicy Fish makes a memorable meal; I can’t wait for you to try it! Let us know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe, and don’t forget to tag us in your creations @ funkyasiankitchen.

Many thanks to Jorge Figueroa at Trigger Seafood, our awesome seafood purveyor, for providing the gram worthy snapper. We appreciate you!

beauty thai fish sauce



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recipe card spicy thai fish

Spicy Thai Fish

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes (or 30 if cleaning whole fish)
  • Cook Time: 1.5 hours
  • Total Time: 57 minute
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: thai



Finished Dish:

  • 3 lb whole red snapper, yellow tail, or other mild white fish, scaled, gutted, and filleted (You can ask a fishmonger to do this for you but keep the head and bones)
  • 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 inch knob of ginger peeled and sliced into coins
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 stalks scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Head and Bones of the fish
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, discard the top third and then cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 6 whole dried arbol chilies
  • 1 can red curry paste
  • 3 cups water


  • Thai basil leaves
  • Cilantro sprigs


For already filleted fish:

  1. If your fish has not had the pin bones removed (you will feel them if you run a finger down the center of the fish), cut down either side of the center of the fillet and cut out ¼ inch of the center where the bones are located. 
  2. Cut the fish into extra large 3 inch pieces. I also included the 2 cheeks and the 2 side pieces that have the rib bones.
  3. Cut or chop the center bone into 2 or 3 pieces so they fit into your pot comfortably. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to cook.

Making the stock:

  1. Heat a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and stir fry for 2 minutes, constantly moving the onions around the pan with a wooden spoon or chopsticks. 
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, lemongrass, chiles, and curry paste. Stir fry for 15 seconds.
  3. Add the water and stir to combine. Nestle the head and the bones into the liquid and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid, and lower heat to medium. Simmer for 35-40 minutes. Set aside.

To Serve:

  1. Heat a large 12” deep skillet over medium high heat for several minutes. Add the oil and the onions and stir fry for 2 minutes, moving the onions around the pan constantly.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 10 seconds. 
  3. Add the shiitake mushrooms and continue stir-frying for one minute. 
  4. Pour the stock into the skillet, making sure to press on the solids to get all of the liquid. (It’s fine if a chili or chunk of ginger falls in, but you want to keep the fish bones out. You can either discard the bones or serve them later if you like, there’s plenty of edible meat on the bones and head.)
  5. Add the fish sauce.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then turn off the heat for a moment and gently place the pieces of fish into the sauce. Add the scallions on top in an even layer.
  7. Cover the skillet with the lid and lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, basting the fish with some of the sauce a couple of times. (The fish should be gently simmering, not rapidly boiling or the delicate fish will break apart. Lower the heat to medium low if the heat is too high.)
  8. Garnish the fish with the cilantro and the basil and serve the fish either in the pan or transferred to a deep platter. Serve immediately.


To prepare your whole fish:

  1. Put a damp kitchen towel under the fish to keep it from moving around on the cutting board.
  2. Use a heavy knife and cut into the head by putting your knife right behind the side fin and cut at a 45 degree angle towards you. Repeat on the other side to detach the head. Set aside.
  3. With the top of the fish facing you, put one hand on top of the fish to keep it from moving and cut along the back spine right above the dorsal back fin going midway through the fish. (You should hear your knife scraping along the ribs as you do this.) 
  4. Now turn the fish and do the same thing but from the belly side. You should grasp the fillet in one hand, almost peeling it back so you can see where your knife is cutting.
  5. Go slowly and try to meet the cut that you already made to keep your fillet even. 
  6. Cut the fillet off and flip the fish over so you can fillet the other side. Repeat the filleting for the other side.
  7. Now that you have 2 fillets, you will need to remove the small triangle of cartilage and bones on the side of the fillets. Keep your knife at a shallow angle and right behind the ribs, keeping as much of the fillet intact. Do both fillets.
  8. Now remove the two cheeks from the head. Pull up on the side fin. Cut off that triangle piece of meat where it is attached to the head. Do both sides and set aside.
  9. Next we need to remove the pin bones which run down the center of the fillet. (You should be able to feel them if you run your finger down the center of the fillet. You’ll be taking out about ¼ inch from the center.). Cut down one side of the fillet as close to the bloodline as possible. Then cut along the other side of the bloodline and remove the center strip. Repeat on the other fillet.
  10. Cut the fish into extra large 3 inch pieces. I also include the 2 cheeks and the 2 side rib pieces to the fillets in the final dish.
  11. Cut or chop the center bone into 2 or 3 pieces so they fit into your pot comfortably. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to cook.
Sriracha Tofu

Sriracha Tofu

Everyone needs a couple of quick and tasty tofu recipes in their repertoire, and Sriracha Tofu is a great one to have. I always have a block of tofu in the fridge and the sauce ingredients in my pantry. Tofu is economical, packed with protein, read more

Chili Crisp

Chili Crisp

I have a bit of a condiment problem. You might even call me a condiment hoarder. They are such an easy way to add a jolt of flavor to just about anything. I’m particularly addicted to Chili Crisp- that gloriously garlicky, spicy, crispy umami bomb read more

Korean Fried Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken

I think KFC Night might mean something different in my house. Nothing against the Colonel mind you, but make my fried chicken Korean please! Shatteringly crispy and glazed with a sticky sweet and spicy sauce, Korean Fried Chicken is having a real moment lately. Even Shake Shack has been getting in on the fun. We first started serving it a couple years ago in the restaurants as a special, and it always sells out. There’s just something about it that’s so addictive.

I have made this recipe several times at home to insure it comes out perfectly every time, even if you’ve never made fried chicken before. Once you do make my Korean Fried Chicken, you’ll never want any other kind of KFC.


ingredients korean fried chicken


What Makes Korean Fried Chicken So Good?!

There are so many reasons and one of them is the sauce! Made from Korean pantry staples like gochujang, it really takes the chicken over the top! It’s spicy, sweet, garlicky, and a little smoky. What’s not to love? And then the marinade adds another layer of flavor. Don’t worry, this one doesn’t need an overnight soak- but if you want to get it out of the way the day before, I think that’s not a bad idea. The marinade guarantees a tasty chicken under the tasty crust. Speaking of crust…the secret to its almost glass-like crispiness? Frying twice, and using potato starch instead of flour. Potato starch fries up much crispier than wheat flour, and it holds that crisp for far longer. Using potato starch makes this fried chicken gluten free, although the sauce is not :(.

korean fried chicken sauce

korean fried chicken marinade


korean fried chicken dredge

Wait For Right Temperature

Once the oil is at the proper temperature, it’s time for the first fry. If you don’t have an oil/candy thermometer, you can check to see if you have the right temperature by dipping one chicken wing into the oil. If the oil immediately bubbles around the wing, it’s ready to use. Add half the wings to the oil, and leave them undisturbed for the first few minutes. This allows the coating to set so you can keep all of that crunchy goodness from flaking off. Fry for a total of 10 minutes.

Once you’re done frying the first batch, then fry the second half of the wings, also for 10 minutes. Most people, including me, do not have a large wok or something wide and deep enough, to accommodate 2 1/2 pounds of wings in one go. So you’ll need to fry in batches. But for the second fry, you can put the wings all together into the oil and again cook for 10-12 minutes.

Frying Twice Makes All the Difference

These wings are different from a typical fried chicken, which usually fries at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. The slow and steady heat, combined with the double fry, really allows the crust to get unbelievably crunchy without burning. Make sure to strain out any bits floating in the oil after each fry, or they will burn and add a bitter flavor. It’s also important to allow the oil to recover heat between fries so you start the chicken off at the right temperature each time.

However, don’t make the assumption that double fry equals dry chicken. The lower temperature keeps the chicken tender and juicy while giving the crust enough time to get extra crunchy. You’ve gotta try it to believe it.

Finally, it’s time to add the magical Korean Fried Chicken Sauce! We bring out the aroma in the garlic with a little oil and then heat up the sauce to coat the wings. The sauce is boldly flavored, so you’re looking for a light coating on each wing. Do not let the sauce cook down too much in the pan or you will not have enough for the entire batch of wings.

korean fried chicken saucing

Serving Korean Fried Chicken

If you just can’t get enough of Korean flavors, try serving this with spicy bean sprouts and radish kimchi. Koreans always serve fried chicken with cubed sweet and sour radish pickles; maybe a future post! For now, if you’re eager to try it, I would recommend using the brine in the banh mi recipe and cutting the daikon or Korean radish into mini cubes instead of shredding it.

For an excellent pairing, a little ice cold beer to offset the spice would hit the spot. This Korean Fried chicken is so delicious; I know you’re going to love it too. Make sure to rate or drop a comment below, and let’s see your gorgeous platters of crispy red chicken-tag us in your insta pics @funkyasiankitchen.

korean fried chicken beauty shot



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recipe card korean frien chicken

Korean Fried Chicken

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Korean




  • 2 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 Tablespoons gochujang 
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

For Chicken:

  • 2 ½ pounds chicken wings, cut into drummette and wing
  • 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • a teaspoon ground garlic
  • a teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Korean chili flakes
  • 1 egg
  • Oil for frying (vegetable or peanut works best)
  • 1 ½ cups potato starch
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda


Make the sauce:

  1. In a small bowl combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ketchup, gochujang, and sesame oil.
  2. Stir and set aside.

Prep the chicken:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the wings, ginger, soy sauce, ground garlic, ground black pepper, salt, Korean chili flakes, and egg.
  2. Mix to combine, making sure all of the chicken is smeared with the marinade. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet or dutch oven for 10 minutes over medium heat. You will need about 3 inches of oil. If you are using a thermometer, the temperature should read 325.
  4. While the oil is heating, mix the potato starch with the baking soda well. Coat your chicken by dredging it through the potato starch mixture. Set aside on a plate and dredge all of the other pieces. 


  1. Dip one wing in the oil to see if it is the right temperature. The oil should immediately start to seize and bubble around the piece. If not, continue heating the oil for several more minutes before frying the chicken.
  2. Add half of the wings, one by one, into the oil gently. Do not touch the wings for the first 3 minutes to allow the crust to set. Cook the wings for an additional 7 minutes and then take the pieces of chicken out and set it aside in a bowl. Using a strainer, scoop any foam or impurities from the oil. Let the oil come back to the correct temperature, about 3 minutes.
  3. Then add the other half of the wings to the oil. Again cook for 10 minutes and then take the chicken out and put it with the other pieces.
  4. Scoop any foam or particles floating in the oil and let the oil heat up for 3 minutes, letting it come back to temperature. 
  5. Next we are going to fry the chicken again. Add all of the chicken into the oil. It’s ok if it’s a little crowded. Fry the chicken for an additional 10-12 minutes until the chicken is golden and very crispy.
  6. Drain the chicken on paper towels while preparing the sauce. 
  7. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Put 1 Tablespoon of neutral oil and the minced garlic into the pan and cook for 10 seconds. Add the sauce and cook for 30 seconds to heat it. Add the wings and move the pieces around to coat the chicken evenly.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the wings to a large platter, Serve immediately.


* If you would like to get a head start on the wings, go ahead and marinate the chicken the day before you’re going to be frying the wings. The flavor will penetrate the wings better and you will have one step out of the way.

*Are you one of those people who loves cold fried chicken? Me too! And this chicken retains its crispy texture even cold. Unfortunately it does not reheat well (the crust gets a little soggy and the sugar in the coasting tends to burn if you get a little too aggressive re-heating it), so just eat any leftovers cold!

Keywords: korean fried chicken, korean food, spicy, gochujang